Why Are Toyota Land Cruisers So Expensive?

Those looking to upgrade to a full-size SUV have certainly considered the Toyota Land Cruiser. However, the high purchase price has pushed many to consider alternative vehicles.

Toyota Land Cruisers are expensive because they offer more in terms of luxury and off-road capability than any other SUV. New Land Cruisers are competitively priced, but the high demand and low availability of used models are why they’re one of the best vehicles in terms of value retention.

Having recently bought a Land Cruiser for double the price of a Mercedes-Benz ML of the same age, I can speak about the subject with a dose of authority. Let’s review the benefits you from a Land Cruiser, and see if they’re worth the added cost.

The Looks

There’s nothing wrong with liking a vehicle for its looks. Land Cruisers always had a distinctive design that is combined with the flavor of an import car. Add it up and you get an SUV that’s going to be noticed and respected on the roads, no matter the model year. The only other SUVs that can achieve the same effect are the Range Rover and G-Class.

Luxury Features

If you’ve never taken a seat inside a Land Cruiser, you haven’t experienced true luxury. Whichever model year you pick, you’ll get features that are 5-10 years ahead of its time. When compared to other full-sized SUVs, especially those built in the USA, Land Cruiser is significantly more expensive for what it offers on paper. However, no vehicle has ever impressed me more with its interior production quality than Land Cruiser.

Off-Road Capability

Land Cruiser is considered to be one of the best, if not the best off-road SUV ever made. The size and weight are a limiting factor, and it can’t really compete with specialized Jeep Wranglers, smaller Suzukis, or the Russian legend – Lada Niva. However, it’s all a matter of perspective.

In the full-size SUV segment, Land Cruiser outperforms any American-made SUV and even Range Rover. The renowned G-Class comes on par with Land Cruiser, but you have to remember that it’s a smaller, 5-seater SUV.

Reliability

This is where we get into a bit of a controversial topic, but one that cannot be overlooked. The Chadian-Libyan conflict was won by Chad with Toyota as the backbone of their motorized power. Land Cruisers and Hiluxes have withstood the extreme heat, off-road desert conditions, and limited servicing for decades. Seeing the exact same model you can buy at the local dealership used in a military setting is proof of reliability virtually no other manufacturer can replicate.

Value Retention

There’s no vehicle that retains its value quite like Toyota Land Cruiser. They’re very expensive to buy, costing around $86,500 brand new. Being a luxury SUV, not too many Land Cruisers are sold each year, and owners tend to keep them for longer than other vehicles.

Combine this with a very high demand for used Land Cruisers, and you get an SUV that holds its value far better than any other. Beyond a certain point, old Land Cruisers stop depreciating completely and even rise in value as they become more scarce.

Drawbacks

There are a few problems with owning a Land Cruiser. They are highly reliable, but even their parts have to be serviced and repaired eventually. Because it’s a full-size luxury SUV, the cost of labor and parts is one of the highest among all vehicles. You should never buy an older Land Cruiser just because you can afford it as the cost of repairs is going significantly affect your budget.

Why is the Land Cruiser so Expensive?

To properly gauge how expensive Land Cruiser is, let’s take a look at the price difference with some of its main competitors.

Make and Model (2021)Base Price
Toyota Land Cruiser

$85,600

Mercedes G-Class

$132,000
Land Rover Range Rover

$92,000

Nissan Patrol

$81,200
Cadillac Escalade

$77,500

Chevrolet Suburban

$53,000
GMC Yukon

$52,000

By comparing only the base models, we can see that Cadillac Escalade is priced surprisingly close to the Land Cruiser. Toyota is one of the very few manufacturers that retains a body-on-frame construction, while most switched to a unibody design.

Body-on-frame is more expensive to manufacture but offers significantly better off-road performance. Usually, this comes at the expense of interior comfort, but now the Land Cruiser. However, if you don’t need the off-road capabilities, Toyota Land Cruiser might be unnecessarily expensive for you.

How Much are Used Land Cruisers?

The actual value of used Land Cruisers is greatly affected by supply and demand, but the analysis made by Car Gurus uses as many listings as possible to create a fairly accurate table.

Toyota Model Year

Average Price

2021 Land Cruiser

$94,531

2020 Land Cruiser

$91,300

2019 Land Cruiser

$84,267

2018 Land Cruiser

$76,071

2017 Land Cruiser

$69,069

2016 Land Cruiser

$61,691
2015 Land Cruiser

$51,251

2014 Land Cruiser

$51,081

2013 Land Cruiser

$44,507

2007 Land Cruiser

$23,567

2003 Land Cruiser

$19,874

1999 Land Cruiser

$15,249

From the chart, we can see that a six-year-old Land Cruiser retains roughly 50% of its original price. With older models, you’re not losing out on comfort, but there are certainly fewer tech and convenience features. This may be a good thing for some, as the costs of repairs of those components run high, and an older model is easier to maintain.

Summary

Buying a used Land Cruiser is only half the battle. The cost of repairs can run high, and I’m telling you that from experience. I’ve already spent an additional 10% of the purchase price on repairs, and a new set of tires is going to be cheap by any measurement. However, if you’re like me, and you know why you want a Land Cruiser, all that cost will be well worth it once you take a seat behind the steering wheel!